Rainham woman celebrates 100th birthday with special tea at The Ritz
PUBLISHED: 10:04 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:54 28 October 2019
A former accountant celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family at the Ritz on Saturday, October 26.
From surviving the bombing of Liverpool during the Second World War to living in Tanzania and learning Swahili, Phyllis Whitwell has had an interesting life.
Phyllis' daughter Alexandra Wilde told the Recorder that the family enjoyed a "wonderful weekend" of celebrations for her mother's 100th birthday.
She said: "[Phyllis] was born on October 28, 1919 on my Grandma's 3rd wedding anniversary.
"Grandma always said my mum was the best anniversary present she could have been given.
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"Because it is such a special time, we have had a weekend of celebrations, and mum is thrilled to have received a congratulatory birthday message from the Queen.
After marrying in 1941, Phyllis started her career in accountancy working for the Midland Bank, while her father was a prisoner of war for three years.
Alexandra added: "I was born in 1946, and after a bitterly cold winter and shortages, we all went out to east Africa in 1948 to Tanganyika (now Tanzania), Kenya and Uganda.
"My mum learned Swahili, and carried on working, all the time scaling the professional ladder.
"When we moved to Durban, South Africa in 1962, the pinnacle of her career was to land a top job in the Treasury Department - the first lady to join a very male-dominated sphere."
Phyllis returned to England in 1985 and she now lives in Rainham.